Embattled Rutgers AD Julie Hermann met with the parents of a former Scarlet Knights football player who has alleged he was verbally abused after she claimed to have spoken to them on the phone while the parents asserted that that conversation never happened.
Jevon Tyree, a former cornerback on the team, alleged that he was verbally abused and threatened in the form of a head-butt by defensive coordinator Dave Cohen during a study hall incident this past spring. As recently as Saturday, Rutgers and Hermann claimed that the matter was closed.
However, after Hermann's in-person meeting with the Tyree family on Wednesday, the school said it will have former New Jersey Attorney General John Farmer Jr. review all the relevant material and pass along his findings to the school's president. The purpose of Wednesday's meeting, brokered by a prominent local pastor, was "to clarify misunderstandings and resolve the issues relating to Jevon Tyree's experience as a student-athlete at Rutgers," a statement said.
Tyree's parents acknowledged that Hermann did indeed speak to someone about their son's issue. In return, they insisted that Hermann admit it wasn't Tyree's father, Mark.
"It was important to the family that the AD acknowledge that she believed she never spoke with them," Rev. DeForest B. Soaries said. "It was important to the AD to hear them say that they don't believe she is just a blatant liar and that it is within the realm of possibility that she spoke to someone because she asserts that someone called her claiming to be Jevon's father."
What may seem like an irrelevant sticking point in the matter is actually significant, given Hermann's dubious recollection of events in her life before taking the job at Rutgers. Hermann became the AD after former basketball coach Mike Rice's abusive coaching tactics came to light, and she has said that any sort of abuse won't be tolerated.
Hermann faced immediate scrutiny after former University of Tennessee volleyball players -- Hermann's former team -- alleged verbal abuse from their coach. Given the ongoing bullying saga in the NFL, there arguably isn't a more pressing topic in sports than locker room culture.
In Tyree's case, coach Kyle Flood confirmed that despite voluntarily leaving the team on Nov. 6, he will remain on scholarship throughout the rest of the year.